Broad City

 
(i)

 

Absurdist buddy comedy is female-friendly, edgy.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters slack off work, steal things, buy and sell drugs, and sleep around, but it's all played for laughs.

Positive role models

The show's leads, Abbi and Ilana, exhibit sisterhood and support each other sweetly but take things like sex and drugs lightly.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

No nudity, but subplots include Ilana's casual sexual relationship with a friend (she Skypes Abbi while in the midst of having sex with him) and the friends attempting to make money by cleaning a total stranger's apartment in their underwear.

Language

Infrequent F-words are bleeped, but strong language includes references to body parts, sex, and obscene insults.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Abbi and Ilana drink and smoke pot on-screen and refer to other drugs. They get drunk and high and act silly. We watch them buying pot from a friend and dickering over the price.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Broad City is an edgy comedy about a pair of female best friends in New York City who steal, party, and smoke pot regularly -- all for laughs. One of the friends has a casual boyfriend she's using for sex; the friends attempt to make money to go to a concert by posting a Craigslist ad offering to clean apartments in their underwear. It's all very funny and comes off as real (which makes sense -- leads Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are real-life best friends), but neither girl is exactly the type of bright, clean-cut, go-getter parents might prefer teens to emulate.

What's the story?

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are real-life friends in New York whose original web series BROAD CITY is now a half-hour show featuring the pair's semibiographical antics under executive producer Amy Poehler. Both Abbi and Ilana have dead-end jobs: Abbi at an upscale gym, Soulstice, where she longs to teach spin classes but is instead given her very own toilet plunger by her smug, yoga-catchphrase-mouthing boss. Ilana works at a Groupon-like service doing sales, but she takes a lot of breaks and is in a happily casual relationship with her friend Lincoln (Hannibal Buress). During their off hours, the friends video-chat with each other, make plans for parties and concerts, stalk cute neighbors, and generally pal around in ways that real-life young women will probably relate to.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Taking a page from Louie, Abbi and Ilana's antics have an absurdist "only in New York" flavor with a dash of the Seinfeld method of spinning a show out of nothing in particular. One episode features Abbi's epic journey to retrieve a package for a handsome neighbor, which involves a trip to an island neither Abbi nor anyone else has ever heard of. Another involves the girls' pursuit of an extra $200 to get into a concert; when stealing office supplies doesn't work, Ilana convinces Abbi to clean a stranger's apartment in her underwear. Spoiler alert: The client (Fred Armisen) evades paying for the service by pretending to be an adult baby who doesn't understand what money is.

That last anecdote more or less sums up the show. If it sounds amusing to you, Broad City probably will be, too. Jacobson and Glazer have personality and a point of view, and though their trying to make extra money by bucket drumming in the park may not be relatable (particularly for those living outside NYC), the two of them always are.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about other shows set in New York that focus on female friendship, such as Sex and the City and 2 Broke Girls. How are Abbi and Ilana like these other heroines? Are they the same age? The same socioeconomic status? Are they presented differently?

  • Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are friends in real life. Can you think of other on-screen pairs, romantic or platonic, who are also paired in real life? Does it make a show more real or more funny if the characters are also involved off-screen?

  • One show Broad City has been compared with is Girls, which is also about a set of female friendships among New York twentysomethings. Which one seems more realistic? Which one is funnier? Which one do you like better?

TV details

Cast:Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer
Network:Comedy Central
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Broad City was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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